#EventSpeaks: LAUREL @ The Hope & Ruin, Brighton – 01/10/18


   

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On Monday 1st October 2018, LAUREL came to Brighton in support of her debut album, Dogviolet (check out our review here). Since her last, solo performance in Brighton, the songwriter returned with a full band to delight her audience with offerings from her recent record. She was supported by Another Sky and her guitarist, Polly Money.


Polly Money

It always amazes me how someone with just an electric guitar and their voice can produce such a big sound but Polly Money certainly achieved this with her performance. Just funky guitar riffs and her sugary-sweet vocal (somewhat similar to that of Leah McFall or NAO), wowed the audience. A very humble performance with some lovely melodies.

Polly Money Instagram


Another Sky

This band truly blew me away (and I believe the rest of the audience too!) – they have an incredibly full-on sound with excellent use of backing tracks as well as their live instruments. Each song of theirs was pretty unique – for example, the opening to their set was ambient and airy whilst their next song brought about a huge wave of excitement due to its intensity and just how tight their performance was. The vocalist’s voice is incredibly diverse, whilst mainly quite low-pitched, is capable of a wide range. The guitarist had some funky little moves too. Another Sky are definitely going to be a band to watch out for, and certainly recommend catching them live!

Highlight: The biggest highlight, was this one note the vocalist did, towards the end of one of their songs; it was so loud, high-pitched and perfect that it was all-consuming. It sent shivers down my back.


LAUREL

Having seen LAUREL play a solo set at The Green Door Store (review here) back in 2016, it was amazing to watch her performing with a full band. Although it was a relatively short set, it was amazing to see her playing songs from Dogviolet, with a full sound.

Some of the best songs were: ‘All Star’ for its wonderful guitar riff; ‘Lovesick’, which is just a catchy track to get the audience going, ‘Sun King’ which was beautifully intimate – just LAUREL with an acoustic guitar and ‘Life Worth Living’ – it’s just a downright tune!

Of course I won’t be the first person to say it, but there are great similarities between LAUREL and Lana Del Rey, however there is something much more vulnerable about LAUREL and it feels like she has more integrity about her.

It was also interesting to find out that she has recently released a book called, The Mutterings of a Laurel, which is a journal she kept during the writing and recording of Dogviolet – definitely worth checking out.

Having seen LAUREL perform twice now, I can assure you that she puts on a show you don’t want to miss. You really need to catch her now before she’s selling out bigger shows, especially since she just filmed her appearance for Later… with Jools Holland the morning of the Brighton show…sounds like the start of something big for this little star.

Highlights:

  • LAUREL is a very humble artist with an endearing awkwardness about her audience interaction, you can’t help but love.
  • The hilarious names she has for her guitars, which her manager proudly embarrassed her by announcing. It’s not my place to share them, but go see her live and you might find them out! 😂
  • Her ability to perform songs with such passion that you are drawn in by her every word – she’s a real star.

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Setlist

All Star
Lovesick
Hold Tight
Sun King (Solo Acoustic)
Same Mistakes
South Coast
Adored
Blue Blood
Life Worth Living*

This song can be viewed in the YouTube video, below.


Finally, I want to say a big thanks to Chris (LAUREL’s manager) and Henry (in LAUREL’s PR team) for enabling this review to happen. A big thanks also to Polly Money, Another Sky and LAUREL herself, for putting on such an incredible, intimate show.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other live reviews here:

Muzik Speaks Live Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: LAUREL – DOGVIOLET


   

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LAUREL (aka Laurel Arnell-Cullen) is a British indie musician originating from London. She has had a string of critically acclaimed songs since posting her first demo back in 2013 and gained a lot of bloggers’ and radio DJs’ attention for writing, recording and producing most of her early music in her bedroom studio. Since signing to Counter Records (a division of Ninja Tune Records) in August 2016, she has released an EP and headlined her own UK tour. Now, 2018 sees the singer and songwriter releasing her debut album, DOGVIOLET. Here are are thoughts on the record…

Laurel - Dogviolet.jpg

LAUREL is finally releasing her debut album, DOGVIOLET and it’s a real corker! From the moment it opens with the catchy ‘Life Worth Living’ which bursts into life with its heavy drums, we are taken on a personal journey through LAUREL‘s heart and mind.

Some of the other tracks that really stand out are: ‘All Star’ has a really unique guitar line to it and it’s about putting a partner on a pedestal; ‘Hold Tight’ which has some relaxing, summer-by-the-beach vibes about being close to someone; ‘Adored’ for its slightly more grungy sound; ‘Crave’ which builds to a rather haunting chorus and ‘Take It Back’ for its very different and incredibly catchy chorus that lies somewhere along the lines of HAIM and MUNA.

‘Empty Kisses’ is a beautifully melancholic track too about a relationship that’s essentially over and the passion’s gone.

There’s something beautiful about the occasional cracks in her voice – it’s stunningly imperfect.

Undoubtedly, comparisons could be made with the likes of Lana Del Rey or Florence Welch due to her ethereal vocals and melancholic tones but there’s something beautiful about the occasional cracks in her voice too – it’s stunningly imperfect.

The production is artistic and evokes imagery of an artistic independent film; it certainly serves as a soundtrack to this period in her life, with real, introspective lyricism and reflection that must have taken her to some deep, dark places in her memories. This is surely the start of a wonderful career ahead – with her intensely mesmerising vocals and remarkably honest and personal writing style that certainly stands her out from so many others right now. This year is certainly going to be a big one for LAUREL and I can’t wait to see where it takes her next.

Rating
4


‘Dogviolet’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/dogviolet/1373664343


Dogviolet on Spotify

Coming soon.

Same Mistakes (Official Video)

Life Worth Living (Official Audio)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of LAUREL’s debut album, DOGVIOLET? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us about it via our social media.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Laurel


   

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Before Laurel‘s recent show at The Green Door Store, Brighton (check out our review here), I had the opportunity to meet and interview her, in person, before she took to the stage. It was a real pleasure, as she was such a witty, humorous and down-to-earth person! Here’s how it went:


Hey Laurel, how are you?
Good thanks…cold.

So what’s new with you at the moment? I know obviously you released your new EP, Park, like a week or so back, how’s it been? What have fan reactions been like?
Yeah great, it’s really nice to have a new record out actually because I haven’t had an EP or anything out for quite a while. I’ve got a vinyl; you could get a vinyl player.

Obviously the tour kicked off yesterday, how was the first night?
Yeah good, good. I was really nervous actually. I’ve never been on my own headline tour before so it’s quite nerve-racking. I was guzzling wine before I went on stage and that’s not really like me. Haha!

So, where do you take your inspirations for songs from?
Just kind of life, I guess. They’re quite…quite truthful songs. You should search up the lyrics and you’ll know exactly what’s going on inside my head.

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?
Probably Tyler, The Creator, because I just think he’s sick and I just think the production on his music is so cool and just interesting…and he’s an angry…(Can I swear? I can’t swear. Can I swear?)…

I don’t care.
…an angry motherf**ker!

Have you got any weird habits?
(Laughs) Well, I have no idea. I think you’d have to ask everyone around me because I guess I would probably not know if they were weird or not. I imagine there’s quite a lot of weird things about me; I’m told that often.

What really grinds your gears?
I dunno…I’m quite a chilled-out person I think.

That might be the first response I’ve ever had like that, so that’s good.
Really?

Most people are like, “Well this and this and…”
What does really piss me off? It’s probably relating to food. Or, do you know what I really hate…when I get a thin coffee. I hate that! That’s a really rubbish one isn’t it? I could go more in depth into the type of person I hate, that really grinds my gears but I won’t do that.

Is there anything other than music you’re really passionate about?
Poetry. I love poetry. That’s about it; I’m kind of simple.

What music have you been listening to most recently?
Um…most recently…I’ve been listening to a lot of Morrissey recently because one of my friends really likes Morrissey. And then I guess the Talking Heads a lot and Mac DeMarco. I don’t usually listen to a lot of new music; I’m one of those people that finds like three people they like and they’ll just replay it forever.

What’s the best film you’ve seen lately?
Do you know what, maybe not the best film, but the craziest film I’ve ever seen recently, was called Green Box or something. It was mental. Someone’s face got gnawed off by a dog, someone’s arm got shut off in a door. It was basically about neo-Nazis. It was mental and I’ve never ever had to like turn a film off and leave but I was watching round a friend’s house and had to leave; it was horrible!

OK, I’ll make sure I avoid that one!
Good. Yeah, don’t watch it! Or do watch it coz it’s quite a shocker!

If a film was made about your life, who would you want to play you?
Me probably. Can I play myself? If I’m still alive, then I might as well play myself.

That’s a good one; might as well! What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Someone said to me once, “Don’t push the river,” which is from like some sort of weird, ancient proverb and I really like that; it’s kind of my mantra in life, just let things flow, don’t push to do anything that doesn’t feel natural, just kind of let life go as it goes, it will end up in the right way.

I like that! Well normally I end my interviews with a game of ‘Would You Rather…’ are you up for that?
Yeah, why not!


Would You Rather…?

TAME

Would you rather have a third eye or third arm?
I feel like…oo, they’re both quite handy aren’t they? Handy…arm!

(Laughs) I see what you did there! Pun!
I feel like I would rather have an extra arm because it would be handy for me to be able to play a drum whilst I played the guitar or a piano at the same time as playing guitar, on stage. Then I really could be a one-man-band.

Would you rather be super strong or super fast?
Super fast definitely…or invisible, can I just be invisible?

(Laughs) OK, just change the question.
I’ll be invisible.

Would you rather go through life and be unable to ask any questions or unable to answer any questions?
(Laughs) I reckon I probably am the asker anyway. I can’t answer a lot of things but I definitely, sure ask people a lot.

Would you rather live in a Disney universe or a Looney Tunes universe?
Disney, yeah! Who wouldn’t?

AWKWARD

Would you rather always speak your mind or never speak again?
Oh my gosh…Oh I don’t know about speaking my mind. That’s dangerous.

Would you rather have to listen to ‘Gangnam Style’ or ‘Harlem Shake’ for the rest of your life?
Be deaf!

WTF?!

Would you rather eat a live slug or drink a pint of gone off milk?
Milk. Ugh, I hate both those things! I hate milk but I’m so scared of slugs, more than I’m scared of anything in the world, is slugs…or ghosts actually. Probably the milk, although I’d be sick wouldn’t I?

Yeah
I hate slugs. No slugs!

Would you rather use sandpaper for toilet paper or vinegar for eye drops?
Ugh! So unpleasant! Vinegar, I guess.

At least you could wash it out, I suppose.
Yeah, I’d do some vodka after.

(Laughs)
Get boozy.

Excellent! Well good luck with the rest of the tour and for taking the time…
Thank you for the interesting ‘Would You Rathers’.

Cheers.


Finally, I need to say another huge thank you to Laurel for taking the time to talk to me before her show and another thanks to Chris, her manager, for arranging it for me. It was a real honour to chat with Laurel and I had such a laugh doing so.

Make sure you check out one of her shows and listen to her music below.


Laurel‘s releases are all available:

  • To purchase on iTunes –  Laurel
  • To listen to on Spotify –


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Muzik Speaks Interviews


#EventSpeaks: Laurel @ The Green Door Store, Brighton – 24/11/16


   

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On Thursday 24th November 2016, Laurel arrived in Brighton, as part of her first headline tour. She was supported by bands Honey Moon and Blush.


Blush

This band’s sound would’ve fit well as the soundtrack to an indie film or one of the original teen movies, like 10 Things I Hate About You. The sound was atmospheric and filled with interesting instrumentation between bursts of vocals. The singer’s voice was light and almost didn’t fit with the songs, but it actually works really well – it really stands out! Good band but a little static on stage.

blush


Honey Moon

Honey Moon are a self-described psychedelic croon pop band who are reminiscent of an original brit-pop band merged with crooner rock. The singer’s voice was entralling and showed off a dynamic range. I liked his occasional hand gestures too. The band’s sound was euphoric and so big that it would’ve fit perfectly in a stadium – you could just picture them in an arena. The bassist’s facial expressions were interesting – like he’d taken a leaf out of Jack Black’s ‘School Of Rock’ book; quite amusing!

Highlight: The band was atmospheric and had the crowd captivated by their unique sound and the singer’s powerful, crooning vocals.

honey-moon


Laurel

Laurel was utterly amazing; I found myself completely sucked in by her performance. Each song told a story with her well-crafted lyrics and was filled with personality and raw emotion.

Considering she was unaccompanied by a band, her songs still sounded full and she had the audience in the palm of her hand. There was an innocence about her performance too; she told us how she was recommended not to wear a jumper on stage but ignored the advice to look cool and was regretting it so had to remove it; it was highly amusing.

Her voice and song style is fairly similar to the likes of Lana Del Rey but with its own originality to it; I actually preferred it to Lana‘s sound.

If you haven’t already had the opportunity to see Laurel perform, I highly recommend it – you will not be disappointed at all!

Highlights:

  • Laurel‘s between-songs chat was very witty and filled with an endearing vulnerability.
  • Her voice is superb; the sheer power and range of it is excellent and the slight cracks in it are perfection!
  • The lyrics and meanings behind each song are captivating and personal.
  • The simplicity of the performance (without a band) actually enhanced it and showed off her talents brilliantly.
  • After the show, Laurel took the time to meet with her fans, take pictures and sign LPs; great fan interaction!

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 Setlist

Too Far
Killing Time
Hurricane
Adored
Goodbye
All Star
Disturb The Claim
San Francisco
Life Worth Living*

This song performance can be viewed in the YouTube video, below.


Finally, I want to say an absolutely HUGE thanks to Chris for setting up this review and interview with Laurel, and of course Laurel herself for having me at her show and taking the time to chat to me.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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